We have NOT always done it this way: Innovation culture at DEVO-Tech
"We've always done it this way!" Does this sentence set off alarm bells for you too? When we at DEVO-Tech hear this phrase in our environment, our pulse rate rises rapidly. Of course, there are areas where consistency is the law. For example, our human values and the way we treat each other. However, when it comes to processes, procedures and, of course, machines and equipment, innovation and change are our top priorities. It makes absolutely no difference whether something has been done this way for years. We think in new ways.
What does innovation culture actually mean?
Before we could deal with the topic in depth, we first needed a precise definition of the term. We liked the definition of the consulting firm lead innovation very much. It draws a triangle of the three most important aspects that influence a company's ability and activity to innovate: CAN, WILL and MAY. Only when the ability, willingness and opportunity to innovate are perfectly intertwined will the avalanche start rolling - and can no longer be stopped. With these aspects in mind, we wanted to shed light on the topic in our team in order to find out how our innovation culture is doing.
Ability: Know-how, experience and the right equipment
We summarize everything that enables our team to work innovatively under the term CAN. Most people probably think first and foremost of training, workshops and a functioning internal transfer of knowledge that includes all employees.
In addition to this concentrated know-how, which is made up of the knowledge and experience of each individual at DEVO-Tech, we also see the company knowledge that is independent of individuals, which is primarily reflected in processes and data. This company knowledge is the result of the perfect combination of personal skills and the appropriate infrastructure, such as information technology (document management, ERP, CAD, etc.) and - of particular importance in our industry - state-of-the-art machinery. This currently includes the purchase of a new belt grinding machine from Kuhlmeyer and a welding robot this year. In this way, we are helping to relieve our team of routine work and give them more room for new ideas.
Want: People and environmentally friendly operations as a goal
We cannot simply order innovative thinking and action. In order to create a long-term culture of innovation in the company, motivation must come from within. All the better that we already have the WANT in our genes. If we take a look at our company history, it quickly becomes clear that we have lived innovation from the very beginning. Our timeline is dominated by terms such as new building, construction, conversion, acquisition and expansion.
Nevertheless, it is important to us to stay on the ball and constantly promote awareness of the importance of innovation in our company. The goal of human and environmentally friendly operations is our top priority. We motivate our employees to go through the world with open eyes and ears and to contribute their own ideas unfiltered. After all, our welders, electrical technicians, engineers and designers know their respective fields best and know which adjustments we can make to save resources, for example.
May: Trust and freedom of action for our employees
The MAY creates the essential basis for turning the theoretical mountain of resources and ideas into actual measures. Flat hierarchies and short communication channels are a wonderful basis for cultivating innovation in the truest sense of the word. We encourage initiative and entrepreneurial thinking by trusting our employees.
For example, if an employee agrees with a customer on a procedure that deviates from the usual approach, the management is happy to give them free rein - as long as our company-wide quality and service standards remain unaffected. An example of this would be virtual device acceptance or remote maintenance. Even if something doesn't go as planned, at least we have learned from it. Innovation still requires a bit of courage:
Nothing ventured, nothing gained!